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Welcome to the March 2011 Issue of News From the Bow

March 1, 2011

Welcome to the March 2011 Issue of News From the Bow

As the days lengthen, boaters feel the promising sense of spring. We know that everything is about to change. Our spirits rise with every up-tick in temperature and with each day’s added minute. We begin to plan. According to tradition we visit boatyards where sanding, painting, provisioning and repairing will lead us to the water. Yet something has changed. For those who dream of cruising offshore, this season is different. This is the year pirates claimed a portion of the sea.

The word pirate is defined as a person who robs or commits illegal violence at sea, an ocean predator. Although piracy has been glorified in film and folklore, it has always been a symptom as well as a scourge of difficult times. The Somali pirates who kidnapped and murdered four American sailors last month stripped away any romantic polish that the term pirate ever deserved.

What happened while the USS Sterrett waited for the pirates’ response during rescue negotiations remains to be told.  We know that S/V Quest ventured away from the relative safety of fellow boaters in a dangerous part of the world, and that its crew will never return. In the upcoming weeks and months NFTB will, along with many, seek to understand why Jean and Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay and Robert Riggle, the crew of the Quest, died. All we can be sure of now is that offshore cruising aboard small boats has become more dangerous, and that our expectations of life on the ocean have shifted. By murdering our comrades, pirates have stolen a piece of the sea from all of us.

We celebrate the spirit of Quest’s crew and are greatly saddened by their loss. They represented the adventurers in all of us, those who trust in destiny. Their hopes and dreams were far more meaningful than their doubts and fears. Theirs was the vision we see with fleeting clarity.

As the weeks, months, and years pass we will think of them. They will join us at sunset, on glorious cruises, at a dock or at anchor, and during difficult times. They will live on through the experience of our shared goals. And the seasons will turn and life will go on. Although we did not know them personally, we know in our hearts that Quest’s crew would have wanted us to carry their dreams and continue on over the horizon.

In this March 2011 issue of NFTB we celebrate every boater’s shared experiences and traditions.  It is a pleasure to introduce you to Robert Eldridge White, Jr., the publisher, along with his wife Linda, of Eldridge Tide and Pilot Book. Robert’s unique perspective on the past and present points like a compass to boating’s future. Next we contrast the reliability and safety of traditional paper-based navigation with a new and important digital technology, the BoatUS smart phone App.  A new section called “Light Bulb Moments” gives readers a chance to share valuable lessons learned on the water. And for those of you who were “on the hard” during this particularly harsh winter we reveal the best (and the worst) of winter boat covers. Smile with us and be introduced to a visiting harbor seal in “Off Season Dockage”. Then pick up some tips “From the Parts Department”. We’ll also help you make a healthy, fast and delicious meal aboard (and at home) from easily available ingredients in our “Featured Menu” this month.

We hope you enjoy this issue of News From the Bow. Please share your thoughts with us, send ideas for articles our way, and become an active participant in NFTB. We wish you well, and look forward to hearing from you.

Shana and Stu Hochron

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